Largest plane in the world, The Antonov 225 Mriya, bring face masks to Germany


The Antonov 225 Mriya, the world’s largest aircraft, landed at Leipzig/Halle Airport on April 27, Monday morning. The six-engine cargo aircraft transported more than 10.3 million face masks from China to Germany as part of the SALIS Project (Strategic Airlift Interims Solution). Using their experience, the employees at PortGround, a subsidiary of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG that specialises in handling aircraft and freight, unloaded the An-225 through its characteristic nose access point.

An Antonov An-124 had already landed at Leipzig/Halle Airport on April 26. It arrived from Shanghai, had landed in Almaty (Kazakhstan) en route and had 8.3 million face masks on board. Permanent corona crisis operations are causing the aviation giants to now fly to Central Germany.

Both aircraft belong to the Ukrainian airline, Antonov Airlines. Two Antonov 124-100 planes have been permanently stationed at Leipzig/Halle as part of the SALIS Project since March 2006. The flights are coordinated and handled by Antonov Salis GmbH, which is based at Leipzig/Halle Airport.

“Leipzig/Halle Airport occupies a key position in supplying the population with essential medical equipment in the battle against the corona pandemic. As Germany’s second-largest cargo airport, we’ve already been able to safely and reliably handle humanitarian aid flights with hundreds of tonnes of aid materials during the last few weeks – and we’ll continue doing so. We’re delighted at the huge trust placed in our airport and our team so that we can now welcome another humanitarian aid flight here; it is transporting more than 10 million new face masks to Germany.” said Götz Ahmelmann, CEO of AG.

In addition to the Antonov aircraft, about 15 more planes have landed at Leipzig/Halle Airport with medical equipment since the end of March. PortGround has handled about 500 tonnes of these urgently needed supplies, including the SALIS flights. Other humanitarian aid flights are being planned.

Leipzig/Halle Airport has a 24-hour operating permit for cargo flights as well as direct links to the trans-European motorway and railway networks in a north-south and east-west direction. As a result, Leipzig/Halle provides ideal conditions for transporting goods by road and rail.

The runway system has two parallel runways, each 3,600 metres long, and they can be used independently of each other, even in CAT III b conditions.

DHL has been operating its European hub at the airport since 2008. It is the largest within its global network and the company has invested EUR 655 million in its construction. Plans are also now being drawn up to extend the infrastructure at the apron area used by DHL, among other things.

Leipzig/Halle Airport is also the home base for AeroLogic, a joint venture involving DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo. Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH is a subsidiary of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG. It handled approx. 2.62 million passengers and 1.24 million tonnes of air freight in 2019. Leipzig/Halle Airport is therefore the second-largest cargo airport in Germany and the number five in Europe.

The airport is connected to the A 9 and A 14 motorways and has a railway station, which is fully integrated in the central terminal. Passengers can directly reach the check-in area from the station and the multi-storey car park.

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The sole Antonov AN-225 aircraft was built in the 1980s to transport space shuttles and can carry up to 250 tons of cargo. The plane’s smaller version, the AN124 has already moved vital supplies needed during the pandemic to several NATO countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.  

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Devender was born in the year when the Beatles Group was formed. He holds two master’s degrees in English Literature and Public Administration. He also has an Honors degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. He was closely associated with the Indian State Transport Undertakings and Ministry of Transport in his role as Corporate Communications and PR specialist for over two decades handling domestic and international organizations. He ventured into business forming his own Media House, Profiles Media Network Private Limited which is now a twenty years old company. Excelling as an editor, Marketing, PR, Anchor, and Advertising specialist, he is now expertly navigating the world of social media. A widely traveled professional internationally, Devender has a deep understanding of the Air Cargo, Cargo Business, Cargo Airports, Freighters and Cargo Industry at large.